I visited an old friend today, on his family farm that was built in 1908.
When I stepped into the barn I felt like I stepped back in time. I could see the horses chewing on the wood in their stalls, and the dairy cows being milked.
My friend told me the cow milking stool that was hanging on the barn wall was frozen in time, and left there untouched since his grandfather hung it up the last time he milked the last dairy cow.
My friend showed me where his grandfather placed his handmade corn cob pipe on the concrete windowsill in the barn. One last time.
I didn’t have to try very hard to see it all there. He described it so well. The stories, the lives, the farm, they were all passed down to him. He was so proud to receive the legacy.
My friend inherited the farm when his father passed away a few years ago. He said something to me that I’ll never forget…
“I don’t ever want to call this farm mine, because it’s not mine. If it were mine, and I made it my own, it would lose all of what made it. It’s part of me, and it’s part of my dad, and part of my grand-father, and part of his dad. It’s made up of, and still belongs to, all of us.”
The horses and the cows are gone, but there are chickens, and goats, and a dog named Gus. Gus and I shared a locked eye moment that felt like all the stories of the farm were held in his soul. Gus loves the farm so much it seems like he was created to be there, to carry the stories on his back as he races around smiling at everyone who stops by.
The barn wasn’t the only place that took me back in time. The people, all six who just stopped by to say hello, to reminisce, to share the best moments of their past that happened over the years that they’ve all been “family.”
I’ve felt like an old soul before, but not like this. It was an honor to be invited in to a place like this. Where the stories, and the people, become more alive just because they’ve been there.